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RE: [RC] Electrolytes - as a supplement - Susan E. Garlinghouse, D.V.M.

Title: Electrolytes - as a supplement

Can someone explain to me why giving electrolytes as a daily supplement is a good idea?


Tall C Arabians – Central

The short answer is because the body doesn’t store electrolytes in the body except what’s circulating in the blood and assorted fluids.  A certain amount is lost daily, so you need to replace it.  Most necessary electrolytes can and are supplied by good quality forage (ie, piles of potassium), but is often a bit short on sodium.  Not always, but often.  Everything else is variable, depending on soil and growing practices.  Since sodium is the only mineral for which animals normally develop a specific and proportional appetite when deficient, you can just supply some salt free choice and let them eat it as they see fit (assuming they don’t eat an inappropriate amount as recreation or whatever).  If there are other minerals or nutrients also supplied in the box of salt, fine.  However, you don’t need to supply anything exotic, and you don’t need to supply the same electrolytes you syringe at rides (if you do).  Electrolytes at rides need to be a lot more palatable in concentrated doses, have to be readily and quickly absorbed and so on.  The stuff at home just needs to be reasonably palatable and should be accessible, that’s all.  Doesn’t have to be anything particularly special.


Having said all that, supplementing a little extra salt in beet pulp mash or whatever is helpful with some horses that otherwise just don’t seem to drink enough water on their own.  Usually, paying attention to water quality is enough, but a few horses still just don’t drink enough to offset possible GI issues predisposing to impactions and such.  I also like seeing horses get some tiny, frequent doses of salt prior to and during transport --- the temporarily increased plasma sodium elicits a thirst response and when water is offered frequently, I think they arrive in base camp better hydrated.


Susan Garlinghouse, DVM, MS


From: ridecamp-owner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ridecamp-owner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Rae Callaway
Sent: Sunday, June 26, 2005 3:45 PM
To: ridecamp
Subject: [RC] Electrolytes - as a supplement


[RC] Electrolytes - as a supplement, Rae Callaway